My daughter turned 15 yesterday. We celebrated with dinner in a Japanese restaurant Saturday night and sent her off with a cake to have with her fellow Minnetonka Chamber Choir members after rehearsal last night. Thursday the Chamber Choir leaves for Prague, Vienna and Salzberg to sing in a series of concerts. After she returns from the tour, she will fly to New York to visit old friends and then spend three weeks singing with another group in Canada and and northern Vermont, before returning home so we can purchase whatever clothes and supplies she needs before the start of the new school year.
As a mother, the idea of any child suffering is a unbearably painful one. As I think of my daughter’s life and the opportunities available to her, I can’t help but think of the millions of children in the world who are lucky they eat on their birthday, let alone get taken to a nice Japanese restaurant. Of the children who, if they travel more than 50 miles from the place of their birth, do so because they have been sold into slavery, not because they are going to sing in a series of concerts or visit with friends.
I just finished reading Uwem Akpen’s, Say you are One of Them (mentioned on my Recently Read page). This African Jesuit uses his powerful storytelling abilities to put before us the reality of the lives of so many children in Africa. Ethnic and religious strife. Poverty so dire it is hard to imagine. Experiences that no one should face, let alone 8, 9 and 10 year olds. Read it and weep.
These are all our children. We need to be aware of the reality of their lives. And we need to think about our collective responsibility for the weakest among us. “Whoever receives this child in my name receives me.”
What are we doing to secure the future of our children? Of all of our children?